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Summerville United Church
Summerville United Church is the heart of the Summerville community, so it is appropriate that it plays a central role in the Summerville Art Festival. Like Canada itself, the church celebrated its 150th birthday in 2017.

From the outset, Summerville United Church was conceived and built by the community to be a place of worship for all. The church and cemetery sit on land donated for this purpose. The church was built – by hand - with volunteer labour on timbers brought to Summerville by row-boat. Many of the church furnishings and fittings were created by Summerville craftsmen.

At its foundation, the church was non-denominational, serving as a place of worship for people of all faiths. As settlement on the Kingston Peninsula grew, and other churches were built in the area, the church in Summerville became devoted to Methodist worship and became part of the United Church of Canada in 1925. But true to the spirit of its founders, it remains free and open to all and warmly welcomes visitors to the Festival.

Parking for the festival will be available in the church parking lot. There will also be a shuttle for those who cannot walk the 500 meters to the festival site. There will be no fees, but a free will offering would be appreciated.

Church History - A Story of Faith and Community
How The Summerville United Church Came To Be
Driving around Route 845 on the Kingston Peninsula while preoccupied with getting from point A to point B, it is easy to overlook notable pieces of our local history. The story behind beginnings of the Summerville United Church is one worth taking the time to reflect on. This quaint little place of worship, nestled in the south-east end of the peninsula, stands as a landmark and testimonial to the individuals and families who established it for the greater good of their community and their faith.

In 1865 a young Welshman by the name of Thomas Edwards and his wife Mary made their home in Summerville, New Brunswick. They were distressed because there was no place of worship there. They decided there must be a church in the community.

Mr. Edwards was High Church of England, his wife was Methodist and some neighbours were Roman Catholics. On that account he determined it would be a non-denominational church and would be free and open to everyone.

He spoke with all the neighbours to ask if anyone would donate or help in any way. One of his friends, Mr. John Linton, was very enthusiastic and offered a piece of his own property. Other neighbours offered their labour and the foundation was laid and the church was erected.

This was no small task in those days. Owing to the difficulty in transportation, the lumber had to be brought from a great distance by rowing it over the water and then hauling it overland by ropes to the building location.

Once the building was finished the furnishing had to be found or made. Mr. Edwards, a mechanic by trade, turned out all the wooden holders for the oil lamps on a lathe in his small mill that was powered by water. Pie socials were held to raise money for chairs and later they also purchased an organ.

Many different denominations held services in the church and once a Catholic Priest held a Mass there. As other churches were established in the area the church eventually became devoted to Methodist worship, and in turn became part of the United Church of Canada in 1925.

There wasn’t room for a graveyard until 1915 when James Gamble gave a section of his property for that purpose following the death of his young daughter Violet.

In 1964 the church was moved approximately 100 feet onto land donated by Robert Short and the graveyard was expanded. Mr. and Mrs. Edwards are buried nearby in Bayswater, but three of their sons are buried in the Summerville cemetery. The names in the graveyard today reflect the many families that have been a part of the church’s community over the years.

The Summerville United Church, part of the Two Rivers Pastoral Charge, is still open and actively used biweekly for worship by the Bayswater-Summerville United Church Congregation. In the spirit of Thomas Edwards it is free and open to all.

On June 18, 2017 Bayswater-Summerville United Church Congregation became an Affirming Ministry; an inclusive and welcoming community for every aspect of church life.